The Braves have shut down Myrtle Beach right-hander Luis Atilano and fear he may have to undergo Tommy John Surgery.
Atilano felt some discomfort in his last start on July 24th. He's already seen one doctor, but another Braves' physician will make a final progrnosis next week.
If Atilano has to have surgery, he'll miss the remainder of this season and most off all next year as well. He's currently in Florida trying to strengthen his arm.
Atilano has been one of the bright stories from the Braves' farm system this season. He was 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 games (18 starts). The 21-year-old Atilano allowed 134 hits in 116 innings, with only 27 walks and 45 strikeouts.
After starting the season with a horrific outing (8 runs on 11 hits in 2.2 innings), Atilano had four solid starts through May 1st (5 runs allowed in 27 innings). Then he had three tough starts, allowing 21 earned runs in 12.2 innings of work.
But Atilano bounced back with a terrific stretch. Starting May 24th Atilano made 10 solid starts. He went 4-3 in those 10 games with an ERA of 2.55. He allowed 64 hits in 67 innings pitched, 19 earned runs allowed, and 27 strikeouts.
The Braves selected Atilano in the supplemental first round of the 2003 draft, the 35th overall pick.
Atlanta has already lost Rome starter Chris Vines, another high pick in 20043, to Tommy John surgery this season. Mike Hampton and John Foster are recovering from the procedure at the major league level.
The Pelicans got more bad news Monday when first baseman Greg Creek was diagnosed with a broken hand, effectively ending his season. Creek hit .262 this year with 4 home runs and 33 RBI in 256 at bats. The Braves will send outfielder Ivan Terrazas, who has been playing in the Mexican League this summer, to Myrtle Beach in a couple of days.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.